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The Kingdom


Saw it over the weekend. First of all, a word about ratings. I took my 14 and 11 year olds after checking it out on The Kingdom is rated R, for the violence and language. But speaking just for myself, and I am no fan of blood and guts entertainment, I cannot believe the kind of raunch that gets rated PG-13 and sometimes even PG. Hollywood seems to think violence is much more in need of parental guidance than sex. I think the opposite.

Anyway, the movie is pretty good, though the plot line is a little thin. The producers have gone to some lengths for accuracy — for example, the opening sequence features a documentary-like recap of U.S./Saudi relations that is letter perfect — and yet Jennifer Garner’s character bops around Riyadh in a tee-shirt and cargo pants covering up only in the presence of the “prince.” Don’t think so.

But maybe American audiences won’t shell out $7 or $8 bucks to see Jennifer Garner in a burka and who can blame them?

The film is a fictionalized version of the Khobar Towers and its aftermath. Recall that the Saudis obstructed the FBI’s attempted investigation. This time, some Saudis are obstructionist, some are good guys, and the State Department representative is the complete jerk. (That alone will sell tickets to the NR crowd!)

The most outstanding part of the movie involves the kidnapping of an American. I won’t spoil it, but it is deeply satisfying for reasons you will readily understand when you see it. Something is awfully wrong however when our best counter-terror action is on celluloid, and our actual soldiers have to get lawyers’ approval to go after the real terrorists.


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